Conferring Ministries of Acolyte and Lector
On the candidates for the Permanent Diaconate
Church of the Resurrection, Mallow
Sunday 26th February 2017
“People must think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one is found worthy of his trust”.
So writes St. Paul in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians (2nd Reading). These lines are so apt for us to-day as we gather in faith to institute these men preparing to serve as deacons to the Ministries of Acolyte and Lector. These ministries come with responsibility and commitment to the community they serve.
Those called to exercise the ministry of Lector will make the Word of God their special care. Firstly, to listen attentively and so grow in understanding and love of Sacred Scripture. Secondly, as bearers of the word they are called to share it, proclaim it so that others will come to know the Lord.
Those called to the ministry of Acolyte make the Eucharist their special concern. Again, that concern begins with personal devotion and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. They are also called to share that love and devotion for the Eucharist through their attentiveness and reverence in the celebration of the Liturgy.
For these men, to-day is another step on their journey of preparation for ordination as Permanent Deacons for service in the Diocese of Cloyne. God willing, those instituted as Acolytes to-day will be ordained Deacons in the Autumn. To help you understand a little more about the Permanent Diaconate the Diocese has prepared a simple leaflet which will be made available over these coming months.
Having Permanent Deacons will be new for the Diocese. However, it is not new for the Church in many parts of the world who have had Permanent Deacons for many decades.
You might well ask, why all these ministries or ways of serving people? The answer is simple and clear. It is Jesus’ invitation to people in each new generation. “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness and all these other things will be given you as well”.
To our ears the Gospel to-day might sound naïve, even foolish, to ask us not to worry or be anxious about food or clothes – to believe that God will take care of our needs like the birds of the air or the grass of the fields. The advice not to worry or be anxious about these daily needs is not that they are unimportant. Rather we need to focus on the more important first. We need to have our priorities. And that is the reign of God or the Kingdom of God and what it represents.
With all the demands in life that is not easy – to put first things first and the rest will fit into place. This is good news even while it is demanding. My friends, for all of us called to ministry in the Church this is our task – “Seek ye first the Kingdom and its righteousness” – to do so is our personal quest, and in ministry to help those we are called to serve to do likewise in their lives, in their families and in their places of work and recreation.
To-day, to the candidates we give thanks for your generous “yes” and wholehearted commitment to the call of the Lord Jesus. We are grateful for the support of your wives and your families in helping you to respond to this new undertaking in life.
We pray the Lords blessing on you to-day and indeed on the parish communities who support you on this journey. “People must think of us as Christs servants, stewards entrusted with mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one is found worthy of his trust”.
May the Lord who has begun the good work in you, bring it to completion.
– Bishop William Crean